Jan. 24, 2018
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Jan. 24, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Conway using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(updated 1-17-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) reported that most of Lake Conway remained frozen Wednesday. Water level is low, at winter pool. No reports.
(updated 1-17-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4958) said there were no reports and no fishing to speak of due to low temperatures and snow.
(updated 1-10-2018) Gold Creek Landing (501-607-0590) reports that crappie are biting excellent. Use jigs and minnows. The crappie are in 6-10 feet depth. All other species are slow.
(update 1-24-2018) Lowell Myers says that Sore Lip’em All Guide Service reported the Little Red is experiencing extremely low water conditions most days from lack of water release from the Greers Ferry Dam due to the low lake level. Power generation is occurring only during times of cold air temperatures, so expect extended days of very little water release during mild winter temperatures. Due to the low water conditions on the river, the trout have become lethargic. A few post-spawn browns remain on shoals. Sowbugs, midges, soft hackles and Woolly Buggers are working well for fly anglers. Pink and white Trout Magnets are recommended for spin fishing. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
(update 1-17-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said that due to the extreme cold, he has not fished this week. The generation has increased during this cold spell and the river is high. This should drop when the temperature moderates and this should happen over the weekend into next week. The forecast is for temperatures in the 50s next week. There are still some browns carrying eggs but the primary spawn is about over. Again, please take care while wading to avoid the redds (spawning beds). Wading thru these will destroy the eggs.
Please note that Greg will again be offering the free fly-fishing class at First United Methodist Church in Heber Springs beginning Thursday evening, Feb. 15. The class lasts for four weeks (each Thursday night from 7-9 pm). These dates are Feb. 15, Feb. 22, March 1 and March 8. Greg suggests it would be best to attend all classes, but if this not possible, come when you can. To register, please contact Greg Seaton at 501-690-9166. If he can’t answer the call then, he will return voicemails or texts.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 455.08 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(update 1-24-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 455.07 feet msl, 6.97 feet below normal pool of 462.04 feet msl and trying to rise since the generation has been cut back after warming weather. The water temperature is 44 degrees, pretty much overall. The warmup and some much needed sunshine will help the bite take off as we enter all prespawn phases with all species. Many of the black bass will move shallow, either vertical or shallow to sun, and can be caught with a jerkbait or spinnerbait. Some of the deeper fish are using 50-60 feet of water and can be caught with drop-shots, dragging football head jigs or C-rigs. Just find the shad on the ends of long points or swings with deep drops and fish will be close.
Tommy had reports on bream. He says crappie are suspended, of course, either in open water in the mouths of cuts or in the pole timber or around brush piles, using the water column in 28-40 feet. Try using jigs or minnows fished vertically. No reports on catfish. The river walleye are getting staged or moving to stage in the mouths or close to the mouths of the rivers or right inside river mouths hanging out waiting on conditions to get right before moving on closer to spawning grounds. They can be caught with live bait or different artificial baits. The lake walleye are hanging out in 40-45 feet of water close to flats, and a minnow fished vertically is the best bet on a jighead or drop-shot. Hybrid bass and white bass are eating on and off throughout the day with some traveling toward upriver areas as well. Look in the lake and rivers on flats next to deep water. Some can be caught in 40-45 feet, while others are as deep as 70-80 feet of water suspended. Use spoons, hair jigs, Alabama rigs and inline spinners. For the best catches, stay around the shad.
(update 1-24-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) had no report.
The AGFC is treating alligator weed in Lake Overcup using EPA-registered herbicides approved for use in aquatic systems. The AGFC strongly recommends that adjacent landowners not use lake water for irrigation of lawns or gardens through March 1, 2018. For more information please contact the AGFC Fisheries Office in Mayflower at (877)-470-3309.
(update 1-10-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said the lake has finally thawed out, and the fishing continues. No one has been bass or bream fishing or catfishing. Water level is a little high, but clarity is good. Johnny said he was not sure about the surface temperature, though. Crappie are still in full swing and are being caught off piers and walkways on jigs and minnows from 3 feet to less than 12 inches. Most are 10 to 13 inches long. Johnny says to come see him for all your fishing needs at Overcup Bait Shop and RV park off Arkansas Highway 9 in Morrilton.
(update 1-10-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said last week that the water was 100 percent clear, and the lake was low. He said there had not been much fishing going due to the temps. However, when anglers were able to get out, Larry said they were having excellent success catching bass. Go with a plastic worm for best results. Also, white bass reports were excellent on minnows. No other species were caught.
(update 1-24-2018) Jolly Rogers Marina (501-868-5558) said black bass are slow. Black bass are biting on shaky head jigs, warm-colored crankbaits, drops-shot and jerkbaits. Blacks are off steep rocky banks. They’re shallow during dusk and dawn. Drop 12-18 feet in deep water. Kentucky bass are slow. The spots are being caught on hair and finesse jigs. They can be found near the edge of the creek channel. White bass are slow. They are running in 20-25 feet of water in the channels. Reports are coming in of them being on the east end furthest north side of the lake. Use Rooster Tails, CC Spoons and deep-diving Bandits and Bombers. They are mixed in with the crappie. The crappie also is slow. They are being caught on crappie minnows and soft plastic bodies with a weighted jighead. Try using chartreuse or lead. Also try Cotton Cordell bladed jigs. They’re being caught 28-34 feet deep. Fish in the channel or under water bridges. No reports have come in this past week on any bream or catfish.
(update 1-10-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) said that cold weather has put off most fishermen, but it has brought out the duck hunters on the river. Catfish have moved to the deep holes. Use a combo of skipjack and nightcrawlers. Charley says he has seen a 40-pounder caught recently. They are hitting about every two hours a day. Duck hunting is going strong on the river. Fields are frozen. The past two days hunters were getting limits, lots of mallards, teal, gadwalls and a golden eye was shot. Buffleheads, spoonies as well. Charley says his cove is half-frozen over but he can still get out to the river. A few sauger are being caught below the dam. Fish swirls with spec rigs. Remember, Arkansas Tech University is doing sauger and catfish studies on the river. They are putting tags on the sauger and need anglers’ help. These are worth $10 to $50. Please call the AGFC at 1-877-967-7577 for more information.
(update 1-10-2018) Professional angler Cody Kelley with Best in Bass Guide Service (501-733-5282) reports that bass fishing is fair right now. Now is the time to focus all of your efforts on the backwaters that have deeper water and no or very little flow. This water will usually be slightly clearer. Try jigs, jerkbaits, and crankbaits in these back waters. Crappie can also be found in these same backwaters that have some brush and big laydowns in it.
(update 1-24-2018) River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) said water is clear and is at a normal level and current. Crappie reports were excellent. Crappie are in 6-7 feet of water and being caught on minnows or jigs. Bass are biting fair. They appear to be about 8 feet depth of water and are hitting crankbaits. No reports on bream or on catfish.
(update 1-10-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said anglers last week reported that crappie were biting fair and fish were in about 6 feet depth. White jigs worked best. Water was clear and level and current were normal.
(update 1-10-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said anglers last week reported that crappie were biting fair and fish were in about 6 feet depth. White jigs worked best. Water was clear and level and current were normal.
(update 1-24-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) said the water is stained and surface water temperature is in the 40s. The level and current are normal. Crappie fishing has been good. Look for fish in about 15 feet depth of water around jetties. Use red and black jigs. No reports on bass, bream or catfish.
(update 1-24-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the water is clear and the level and current are normal. Fair reports on crappie fishing. Crappie are about 6 feet deep and found around the rocky points. Use minnows. No other species were reported caught.
(update 1-17-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said crappie reports are fair. Anglers are using minnows and jigs. No other reports. The water is clear and the level and current are normal.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(update 1-24-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water level and current are normal, but no other conditions were available. Reports on crappie were fair, with anglers using minnows. No other reports came in.
Herman’s Landing (870-241-3731) will be closed until February.
(update 1-10-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) owners said they’re looking ahead to the new year and seeing lots of opportunities for trout anglers, young and old. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has introduced a few new regulations to the White River trout management system hoping to answer the "We want bigger trout" demands, so it will be fun to watch and assist from the onset. Water releases from Bull Shoals Dam are remaining steady at just under 2,500 cfs the last few days, the lake is approximately 8 feet below power pool. This past week, with significant weather fluctuations, we've been catching rainbows with a mashup of shrimp and corn; the browns have responded well to jigs and river minnows, especially redfin minnows if you can find them. Lunker brown fishing is just around the corner as the end of the spawning season is upon us. Hope to see you in 2018 … the coffee's on and the trout are biting.
(update 1-24-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river is stained. There have been two generators running of late. No fishing reports were available.
(update 1-24-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said that during the past week, they had about an inch of snow in Cotter, brutally cold temperatures (to include wind chill advisories) and heavy winds (to include lake wind advisories). The lake level at Bull Shoals fell 0.2 feet to rest at 5.8 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 41.8 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock dropped 0.9 feet to rest at 6.3 feet below seasonal power pool and 22.4 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake dropped 1 foot to rest at 7.1 feet below seasonal power pool and 16.7 feet below the top of flood pool. The White had little wadable water with more generation. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now below the top of power pool. With the brutally cold water we should expect more generation to provide for increased energy demand. The catch-and-release section below Bull Shoals Dam will close from until Jan. 31 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch-and-release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period.
On the White, the hot spot has been the Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite is a size Y2K with a size 14 ruby midge suspended below it). Use lead to get your flies down. Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 653.42 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the surface water temperature Tuesday was 49 degrees. Fishing has been hit or miss, kind of like the weather. There is a bunch of different things going on, a bunch of different bites that are working, so you can kind of catch them however you like to catch them. If you have some wind and clouds, but primarily wind, guys are still catching fish using the Rock Crawler or Wiggle Wart. Del said he is going about halfway back in the creeks and working his way out toward the steeper banks, the chunk rock and bluff-style banks. That seems to be it for the crankbait bite but you really do need the wind to do a little bit better than if it’s sunny and flat. If it gets sunny on you, you have some options, though. The jerkbait bite, Del prefers a little wind with it, but it’s good if sun’s out. He’s throwing the Mega Bass, throwing that up around the docks along the bluffs. Also anglers can pick up a few fish on a jig right now. There is also deep bite going on. Del suggests fishing the old channel to get out of the steeper banks, the chunk-style rocks, and work some of the points that have brush piles on them. There is a deep bite starting at 35-45 feet, if you like fishing a spoon. It’s been a crazy winter, he said. Del says he will be attending several boat shows in the region in coming weeks, if you want to visit about a new boat or to just talk some fishing. Check the website link above for some of the events he’ll be attending, as well as upcoming spring fishing tournaments on Bull Shoals. He also urges anglers that if you go out, be sure to bundle up.
K Dock Marina has closed for the season. It will reopen in March.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 546.36 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said the cold and snow last week sure changed Norfork Lake. The water temperature dropped almost 4 degrees and moved the stripers. Tom pre-fished Thursday morning and started where they caught all the fish the previous week. Tom found plenty of shad and that usually brings the stripers. His group fished all morning and only had one bite. Friday Tom took his clients to where the bait was and fished for another 7 hours moving all around the Blue Lady and 101 flats. Tom was always on shad and had two stripers hooked but never boated them. Sometimes in life you look at all the wrong places to find what's right in front of you. The assumption is in winter: Find the shad and you will find the stripers. When the water turns cold the shad will always move deeper and the stripers will follow. Tom says he has followed that logic all the time in the winter with great success. The next day he started looking in Float Creek since there was bait and a few fish caught there the day before. Tom’s son, Sean, was out looking around and texted Tom an image of a massive amount of stripers and hybrids in 28 feet of water with no bait around. Tom’s group immediate went to Duck Blind Point and hooked up and landed three stripers. They stayed on the fish but they quit biting when the sun went behind the clouds and the wind turned east. Sean also found stripers shallow in Float Creek near the boat docks. The moral of the story is quit doing the same thing over and over and don't be afraid to change up your pattern. You just may find the motherlode of stripers.
(update 1-24-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said January has brought normal significant weather pattern changes. About 12 days ago they went from the 50s to single digits for about six days and even had several inches of snow. Over the last several days they were back in the mid-60s, but here it goes again with a slight cool down. All of these changes in the weather affect what the bait and fish do. On Jan. 10, large schools of fish were feeding in about 60 feet of water, but after the cold snap the hybrids and stripers disappeared, even though the bait was still hanging around. Normal wintertime striped bass fishing would have the fish out in the deep water channels feeding on suspended bait in 40-60 feet down. The bait is there, but only scattered fish are showing up. With the cold weather and snow, the water temperature dropped about 3-4 degrees, but over the last several days the surface water temperature has risen 2-3 degrees. “All of the changes confuse the fish as well as the fishermen, including me,” Lou said.
Lou said they had several fishermen staying with them over the weekend all fishing for stripers – a few were caught but it was tough going. The areas where Lou found fish were in the Henderson area close to the bluffs. Big balls of shad were being pushed into the bluffs by the west wind and there were a few stripers hanging around 30 feet down. Both spoons and live shiners caught fish. Monday, Lou said, he was out fishing from the U.S. Highway 62 bridge area all the way down to Fout Boat Dock and only marked a few lone fish. He said he did more looking than fishing. Lou heard from a friend that he found stripers in very shallow water a few days ago, so Lou’s guess is he’s going to need to think outside the box and look at areas that he would typically avoid this time of year. The last two days the wind was howling so he elected to stay at the resort Tuesday instead of fish, with plans to be back at it in the morning and start the hunt again.
Lou added, “I ended my fishing excursion yesterday by doing a little bass fishing. I headed into a cove that the wind was blowing very strongly into. I stopped on a secondary point and found large balls of shad next to the shore and a few shad floating on the surface. I tied on a Rogue (a shallow-running suspending jerkbait) and started casting to the shore. I gave the bait a couple of hard jerks to get it down, then let it rest for a few seconds, then start twitching the bait softly, then stopped. I did this back to the boat. On the second cast the bass started to get active and I landed three largemouth bass in a very short period of time. No monsters, but fun. The wind was blowing so hard that the waves were starting to splash over the boat, so I called it a day. The other location where my guests were finding bass was along deep bluff lines. The fish were about 30 feet deep. Live bait was catching these suspended largemouth and spotted bass.
“A few small shad are starting to die from the cold water, which is very normal for this time of year. If you can find a school of shad that are distressed, on the surface and close to the shoreline, there will more than likely be bass in the area feeding away. I started to see a little of this yesterday, but I really could not tell if the shad were distressed or just being blown into shore from the strong wind.”
Norfork Lake is currently stable and sits at 546.46 feet msl. The lake surface temperature Monday was around 45 degree (+/- one degree). The main lake is finally starting to show some sign of clearing, as well as the creeks and coves. The weather forecast for the rest of the week is to be around normal, 40s to 50s in the days and high 20s to low 30s at night.
(update 1-24-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said Norfork Lake fell 1.2 feet to rest at 6.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 33.6 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork had less generation and more wadable water. On the Norfork, the water is has cleared substantially but has fished poorly. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit during the recent flooding. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a Y2K with a ruby midge dropper.
Dry Run Creek has cleared some and still fishing well. The brown trout have moved in for the spawn. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10). It is cold out there. Take frequent breaks, bring cocoa and dress your children warmly.
Buffalo National River/Crooked Creek
(update 1-24-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are low and clear. With the cold weather the smallmouths are less active. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,113.80 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said the water is clear and the surface water temperature on Tuesday was 39 degrees. The water level is down several feet (overall, the lake is slightly more than 7 feet below normal conservation poo). Crappie reports have been good. Crappie are around the brush piles and are biting minnows as well as plastic baits. Bass are biting fair. Use a crankbait. No reports on bream. No reports on catfish.
(update 1-24-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) says the striper activity forecast for the week is good. Topwater action is still ongoing. Beaver Lake stripers are using backs of coves, creek arms and shallow gravel bars. They have also seen lots of fish surfacing, so have spoons, jigs or topwater plugs handy in order to capitalize on a quick rush when they pin bait to the surface. Fishing free lines, balloons and downlines between the surface and about 40 feet in order to ensure that you have a good spread. You can also try rolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 husky jerks in black back or purple back colors, Smithwick Rogues in similar colors om the 5-6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper or hybrid or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in the lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure. Check the daily lake level and flow data link on Mike Bailey’s web site linked above. Live bait is always the go-to approach when fishing for trophy stripers on Beaver Lake.
Water surface temperature is in the low to mid-40s. Check out these hot areas on the mid-and lower sections: Rambo Creek Arm (check the back near War Eagle Cavern), Rocky Branch (check the back of Larue near the boat ramp), Ford and Cedar creeks (check the backs of these and pay attention to where the tree line intersects the channel), Larue (check the main channel bends and cuts), Coppermine (check the back of cove), Ventris and Shaddox Hollow (check the back of these arms). Also hot is the Highway 12 bridge area (check the main lake structures, humps and secondary points in the rea where the channel intersects), Prairie Creek (check the back of this and Avoca), Coose Hollow, Blackburn Creek, Beaver Shores, Escapalia Hollow/Falls Hollow, Horseshoe Bend, Mont Ne, Hickory Creek, War eagle, and the War Eagle/White River junction. Walleye can be found from 20-30 feet deep depending on areas you fish. Use three-way rigging Rapalas in natural colors for clear water or chartreuse/orange and clown colors for areas of stained water.
(update 1-24-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) said the trout bite has been good this week. Most trout are being caught between Houseman Access and the U.S. Highway 62 bridge. The river is quite low, but the deep holes are holding some very nice fish. Trout are biting on various quarter-ounce spoons and various PowerBaits fished with light terminal tackle. The water temperatures in the area mentioned above have been between 45-50 degrees. If fishing from the bank, try to locate the deeper areas and you should have your limit in no time. The weather has been cold this week and the much-needed rain has seemed to perk the fish up a bit more. So get out there and catch some fish.
(update 1-24-2018) Beaver Dam Store said the river remains low. Nightcrawlers are working well for catching trout. Fish the Bertrand and the launching ramp just below the dam using PowerBait. Also, try fishing the Parker Bottoms area. When water is flowing, throw quarter-ounce spoons. Flicker shad are also doing the job. Typical good lures here are gold and silver Colorado Spoons, red and gold Bouyant Spoons, and Flicker Shad in Pro Series Nos. 4 and 5. Good PowerBait colors are white, red, orange, yellow, chartreuse and peach. Good flies are pheasant tails, midges in blue dun, black, olive, hare’s ear, tungsten Copper Johns, WD 40s, Trout Magnets and San Juan worms. Winter store hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
(update 1-17-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) has reopened, but the lake was iced over Wednesday. Level is normal. Get a permit and come visit this weekend if it warms.
(update 1-24-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) has reopened for the season but there have been no anglers to report any catches.
(update 1-10-2018) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park says he’s happy to report that there is a little bit of water in Lake Poinsett with all the rain from the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the fish didn’t get the memo to fall from the heavens. That being said, Lake Poinsett State Park is still open and selling bait for the local lakes. Crappie have been doing well on Lake Hogue over the past two weeks, according to local anglers. They are biting on live bait such as minnows.
(update 1-24-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the lake was frozen up until Monday, so they had no reports.
(update 1-10-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said, “Well, the weather outside is frightening.” The river is low and clear with a flow of 235 cfs at the spring with 350 cfs average flow. The cold temps have had bigger fish biting. The big white fly, olive Woollies and black Woollies have been hot on the fly, and for spin fishers a hot pink or white Trout Magnet can really produce a lot of fish. Just remember to stay warm; layer your clothing and, if you do slip and get wet, find a warm place immediately. Check the blog for some of the pictures of the big trout we have been catching at springriverfliesandguides.com.
(update 1-17-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is low and fishing well. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over there are few boats on the river. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(update 1-17-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said the surface temperature Wednesday was 40 degrees and the clarity was clear. The water level is low. No fishing is going on, they report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(update 1-24-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report. School has been on break.
(update 1-24-2018) Park Interpreter Austin Davidson at Cane Creek State Park said that with temperatures rising to more tolerable levels the fishing at Cane Creek has made a slight comeback. Crappie are still biting. Minnows are doing better than jigs. Bass fishing has also picked up considerably with the change in weather. The best baits to use are still clumsy squarebills in any kind of shad color, but a few reports of chartreuse-colored baits catching bass have also come in. If the weather stays stable, bream may even begin to bite again. If anyone catches anything on Cane Creek Lake, please email Interpreter Davidson at email@example.com to help him form a more comprehensive fishing report for this slower time of year.
(update 1-24-2018) Brandy Oliver at Lake Chicot State Park (870-265-9705) had no report.
(update 1-24-2018) Angler Chris Van Duren at Lucky’s of Monticello had no report.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 259.74 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service said he has not been on the lake much over the past couple weeks due to icy weather. Ramps last week were iced over but more seasonal temps this week thawed most everything out. Mike has still seen random and isolated patches of ice on the water remaining early mornings in protected and shaded pockets and coves. Temps and lake levels rose a little this past week ranging from 35-45 degrees depending on location. Water and lake levels near normal, approximately 3 inches above normal and falling with 391 cfs of river current, and clarity continues improving. Not many folks were out the past week, but more this week were venturing out than last week, mostly crappie fishing. Crappie continue stacking vertically in standing timber and planted brush tops, best on jigs, tubes and grubs on light wire jigheads, and shiners from 12-18 feet of depth. Bass were slow on medium- and deep-diving cranks, jigs and Gitzit tubes and worms. No report on catfish with reduced river current; haven’t seen any catfishermen on the lake this week. Hopefully looking at more seasonal and warmer water and weather before next week!
Mike added that between the freezes of the past month, the largemouth bass seemed to have acclimated to their normal winter patterns. Bass remained slow but fair from 2-4 pounds, best during the heat of the day, using squarebill and medium-diving crankbaits, or dead-sticking Senkos and trick worms on a light wire hook for suspended bass. Smithwick Rogues and other suspending hard jerkbaits and slow-rolling heavy spinnerbaits in and near creek channels, where there is any remaining vegetation or lily pads stems, were taking a few stragglers. Heavy, large, 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Big O's and Bomber Fat Free Shads crankbaits should pick up a random contender in the 3-5 pound class using any pumpkin seed, brown/orange craw, or crawfish pattern, in the creek channels or along points where feeder creeks dump in to the river. The main kicker of concern in the presentation getting a bite had to be using a really slow roll or stop-and-go type retrieve to entice a bite. Areas further upriver and into the oxbows away from muddy Little River current seemed to hold the most reactive bass, albeit deeper on secondary points and in standing timber. The primary points in back of the oxbows didn’t seem to be holding a large population of active fish as they were in the previous 2-4 weeks before the deluge of muddy and cold inflow of water along Little River. That water raised the lake over a foot a week ago. The big and heavy ¾- or 1-ounce knock-N Rat-L-Traps in Red Shad, Toledo Gold or Goldfire Craw with a super slow retrieve were working near standing timber on points in backs of the oxbows and deflecting off stumps with some 15-18-inch bass away from the river, where better water clarity was found without current. Also, heavy ¾-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbaits continue working around cypress trees from 9-12 feet deep. Best colors drawing reactions were Spot Remover, or white/chartreuse and FireTiger. Magnum fat tube jigs, like Gitzits with internal rattles, are working in the heavy-stain areas where stumps, timber and any vegetation remain. Internal glass or brass, heavy knocking rattles are helping the bass locate the lure in the stained water clarity. Black/blue, black neon or pumpkinseed/chartreuse were getting the best reactions over the past 3-4 weeks. Real Deal Kustom Tackle jigs with a heavy craw worm trailer were picking up random, solitary bass on cypress trees and knees in 8-11 feet depth. Black/blue/purple, black/red or Texas Craw were the go-to colors, all with a black or green pumpkin craw trailer.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 538.41 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Jason Lenderman with JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) said lake level is 538.33 feet msl as of Jan. 10 and up some from last week, which is still 10 feet under normal pool. Water temperature is 44-49 degrees with some color throughout the lake. Although bass are biting fair to good using a variety of methods, quality bites are hard to come by. Booyah jigs in brown or green pumpkin colors are working well around brush and rocks from 10 feet to as deep as 30 feet. Bandit crankbaits in crawfish colors are catching several fish on rocky and windblown banks. Smithwick Rogue jerkbaits are also working well around windy main lake points. Crappie are fair to good around deeper brush using minnows or Kalin’s Grubs.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 398.90 feet msl (flood pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Local angler George Graves said surface water temperature is in the low (cold) 40s and the lake is clear throughout. Note: With the extremely cold water be extra careful in the boat because falling overboard could result in rapid hypothermia. Bass fishing is fair for those who know how to fish cold water. The best pattern seems to be a Texas rigged 4- or 6-inch worm worked very slowly across main lake points in water 10-20 feet deep. Green pumpkin and red shad are hard-to-beat colors. Look for fish in the upper end between Arlie Moore and Point Cedar. Also work the sunny north bank; the water will be a bit warmer. Crappie fishing is holding up pretty well with several nice catches reported. The fish are buried deep in the major brush piles at 20-24 feet deep. Drop a 2-inch black chartreuse tube on a 1/16-ounce jighead into the thickest part of the brush. No need to jig the lure, just hold it still. However, be sure to lift the rod every few seconds and if you feel weight, set the hook. It seems these cold water fish bite very light and most times a bite will not even be felt. Be sure to add the "crappie nibble." Look for attractors in the upper end between Point 14 and Point Cedar. Hybrids are still a no-show. It looks like the cold water has the fish scattered and suspended in deep water. Now is the time of year that the fish should be in big schools on the big flat on the west side of Goat Island. This year the fish are not there, not even many shad. Hopefully when the water warms and the shad return, the fish will start to school. A few good-size bream were reported on the outside of the crappie attractors. Look for fish near the bottom and outside the thickest brush. Use redworms and crickets.
(update 1-24-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said white bass and hybrid striper are moving up the lake. Trolling in the channel has been fairly productive. Crappie can still be caught on brush piles. Fish minnows or jugs 15-20 feet deep. Water temperature is amazingly cold at 38-43 degrees depending on where you're at on the lake.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 437.67 feet msl (flood pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 526.46 feet msl (flood pool: 526.00 feet msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) said fishing is still a little slow, not many reports coming in.
(update 1-24-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) had no reports.
Hot Springs Village Area Lakes
(update 1-24-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born and bred all-weld Aluminum Xpress fishing boats, reports lake temperatures across the area lakes are in the low 40s with warmer water entering through the feeder creeks at the tops of the lakes. There has been as much as a 4-degree difference in temperature and it shows in the aggressiveness of the fish. Bass have been blistering suspending jerkbaits ripped free from submerged grass and worked agonizingly slow with 10-second pauses in 10-15 feet of water in craw or shad colors depending on water clarity. Other lakes in our area are doing well going vertical in up to 45 feet of water using a drop-shot, spoon or hair jig in finesse styles. Electronics are so important this time of year so use that sonar and side imaging to find baitfish off main lake points. Water temperatures should rise this week and hopefully we can get that water up to 50 degrees and get those fish ramped up for prespawn! Good luck be safe and wear those life jackets at least until the water warms.
(update 1-24-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) said had no report.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(update 1-24-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that Entergy is only releasing water for a few hours every few days to maintain lake levels. Lake Catherine is now at a 3-foot drawdown until March 1, when refilling of both lakes Hamilton and Catherine will begin. Each lake will be brought back to normal summertime levels by March 15. Currently, rainbow trout are the main attraction below Carpenter Dam. Little fishing has taken place with the frigid temperatures of late, but those brave enough to endure the cold have caught quality limits of trout. From the dam to the bridge, rainbows are present and thriving as January is the first month for large stockings of trout in the tailrace. Periods of no generation are best for bank fishermen as these anglers are recording limits of fish using corn or waxworms with a marshmallow floater. Redworms and nightcrawlers used in the same manner have also produced nice catches. PowerBaits presented just of the bottom or under a bobber are also working well from the bank or boat. Spin fishermen casting small jigs across the current around exposed rock structure have taken the larges trout this past week. Jigs imitate the small threadfin shad that are drawn through the turbines during periods of generation. Opportunistic trout feed heavily on these injured baitfish and grow strong from this protein source. Rooster Tails in white or brown are also effective fished in the current or slack water. Super Dupers and Little Cleos are proven artificial lures and should never be forgotten when targeting trout chasing shad. Trolling the main channel with shallow running crankbaits is effective and far easier this year with only a 3-foot instead of a 5-foot drawdown. Crawfish or minnow imitations that run 3-5 feet deep will draw consistent strikes from rainbows looking to feed on injured shad. Fly-fisherman are able to wade to areas that hold good numbers of fish and are having success casting egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. Egg imitators are highly effective as all rainbow trout are born egg eaters. This technique will often catch fish when no other pattern will produce. Micro-jigs in white or black have quickly taken numbers of trout in the 12- to 15-inch class. San Juan worms in red or hot pink give fishermen a nice change in approach. Trout Magnets fished 3-7 feet deep have really racked-up fish numbers this week in the blistering cold. It seems that all colors are working with a slight edge in white being noticed. Overall, trout fishing is very good and will become even better as the month progresses into February. While white and hybrid bass have been caught the last several weeks, none have been seen feeding of late. Striper activity is very slow with no reports of fish feeding or being hooked in the last 10 days. The walleye spawn will begin around the second week of February as the water temperatures climb into the 50-degree range. Crappie will begin migrating into the tailrace in mid-March to spawn and will remain until the first part of May. Rainbow trout are king below Carpenter Dam and anyone wanting to enjoy some very good fishing and better tablefare should try their luck in beautiful Lake Catherine. Anyone navigating the tailrace must always wear a lifejacket and be aware of the generation schedules. Observing all park and boating regulations can insure a safe and memorable outing.
(update 1-10-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature in the main river is 40 degrees, 55 degrees at the nuclear plant outlet, and 38 degrees in some of the smaller creeks. River clarity is good. Striper fishing has been good on jerkbaits, Rat-L-Traps and swimbaits. White bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps, small crankbaits, small swimbaits and Johnston silver minnows. Black bass have been good on Rat-L-Traps, jerkbaits and Alabama rigs. Crappie have been good on minnows and jigs, black chartreuse, black pink and chartreuse. Catfish have been good in the creek and river channels on shad.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 342.71 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said water is clear and surface temperature as of Tuesday was 43 degrees. Water level is normal. Bream reports were poor. Crappie are good. The fish are in 3-6 feet of water and are being caught on minnows and black and red jigs. Bass reports were fair. Anglers were catching bass on minnows while crappie fishing. Catfishing is poor.
(update 1-24-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no reports.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 567.68 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(update 1-10-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) says black bass are still fair. Spotted bass have slowed but are still fair on a drop-shot with a finesse worm. No reports on walleye. Stripers are fair to good on Bama rigs. Major creek channels on the central and western part of the lake have been the best for these fish. No reports on bream. Crappie are still fair and being caught on minnows in 20-30 feet of water near structure. No reports on catfish. Surface water temperature is ranging 46-50 degrees. Water clarity is clearing. The lake level was 567.86 feet msl. Call the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm (501-622-7717), Chris Darby (870-867-7822) or Jerry Bean (501-282-6104) – for more information.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 384.36 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(update 1-24-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said is being lowered Bear Creek Lake by about 4 feet so that some shoreline projects can be completed. However, she said, they’re hoping that it won’t impact the fishing forecast in too big of a way. Call the park anytime to check on water levels, boat launch accessibility, etc. Of late, the cold weather seems to have steered way the fishermen, but it’s warming this week.
(update 1-24-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), had no reports. No anglers of late due to the cold weather.